قراءة كتاب The Divine Right of Church Government Wherein it is proved that the Presbyterian government, by preaching and ruling elders, in sessional, Presbyterial and synodical assemblies, may lay the only lawful claim to a divine right, according to the Holy Scrip

تنويه: تعرض هنا نبذة من اول ١٠ صفحات فقط من الكتاب الالكتروني، لقراءة الكتاب كاملا اضغط على الزر “اشتر الآن"

‏اللغة: English
The Divine Right of Church Government
Wherein it is proved that the Presbyterian government, by preaching and ruling elders, in sessional, Presbyterial and synodical assemblies, may lay the only lawful claim to a divine right, according to the Holy Scrip

The Divine Right of Church Government Wherein it is proved that the Presbyterian government, by preaching and ruling elders, in sessional, Presbyterial and synodical assemblies, may lay the only lawful claim to a divine right, according to the Holy Scrip

No votes yet
دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 2

href="@public@vhost@g@gutenberg@html@files@13941@[email protected]#id_2H_4_0037" class="pginternal" tag="{http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml}a">NO. III.


NO. V.





After what the authors of the following Treatise have said in their preface, the Editor judges it unnecessary for him to detain the reader long with any observations of his upon the subject. He, however, could sincerely wish that the friends of Christ would pay that attention to the government and discipline of his Church which it justly deserves. Although this subject should not be placed among the things essential to the being of a Christian; yet if it be found among the things that Christ has commanded, it is at our peril if we continue wilfully ignorant of, or despise it. He has expressly declared, that he who breaks one of the least of his commandments, and teacheth men to do so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven. It is an opinion too common, that if we believe the essentials of religion, there is no occasion for so much preciseness about the forms of church government, which are only circumstantials, as there will be no inquiry made about these at the tribunal of Christ. But whatever relative importance the things of religion may have, when compared with one another, we ought to reckon nothing which God hath appointed, nothing which Jesus hath ratified with his blood, nothing which the Holy Spirit hath indited, so circumstantial, as to be unworthy of our serious regard. It is at least very rash, if not presumptuous, to say, that nothing about the circumstantials of religion will be inquired into at the tribunal of Christ. God has expressly said, that every work, good or evil, every idle word, and every deed done in the body, shall be brought into judgment; and false worshippers will, perhaps, find that their form of worship consisted in something worse than idle words, or sinful words either, even in sinful deeds, for which they will be accountable at the judgment. As Christ laid down his life for his people, has instructed them, and has set a hedge about all that they have, it would be most ungrateful to requite him with pouring the highest contempt on his kingly honor and authority; and when his worship is polluted, his truth perverted, and the walls of his New Testament Zion broken down, to care for none of those things. Government and discipline are the hedge of his garden, the Church; and how will what men call the essentials of religion remain in their glory, when this is broken down, the present state of affairs can sufficiently attest, when the most damnable errors are propagated with impunity.

In our times the enemies of the scriptural order of the house of God are very numerous and very active, exerting all their power to break down the carved work of God's sanctuary. The present spirit for novelty and innovation, together with the rage for infidelity so prevalent, strongly favors the opposition made to every thing which has a tendency to bind men closely to God, to his truths, to the purity of his worship and ordinances, or to one another by a holy profession. The design, therefore, of republishing this Treatise is to assist Presbyterians of all denominations in the understanding of those passages of Scripture upon which their wall is built, that they be not led aside by the cunning speeches of false teachers, whereby they deceive and draw aside the hearts of the simple.

This work was first published at London, at the time when the controversy between the Presbyterians and ancient Independents ran very high, and every intelligent and unprejudiced reader will see, that the Holy Scriptures have been carefully perused, accurately compared, wisely collected, and judiciously explained, in order to evince that the Presbyterian government has the only lawful claim to a divine right, and is the only form appointed by Christ in his Church. It is, therefore, to be wished, that all his people would endeavor, in the strength of Divine grace, to observe the laws of his house, and to walk in all his ordinances and commandments blameless.

Considerable pains have been taken to make this edition more easily understood by common readers than the former, and yet several difficult and hard words have passed unnoticed. The Latin quotations from the Fathers have been omitted, because they contain nothing materially different from what is in the body of the work, and modern Independents pay little regard to any human authorities but their own. It was proposed to have added a few extracts from Messrs. Rutherford and Gillespie, but upon looking into their works nothing of consequence was observed, that tended to cast any new light upon the subject. It is hoped, however, that the Appendix is filled up with extracts from other authors upon subjects of considerable importance, and very necessary for these times, concerning the scriptural qualifications and duties of church members; the divine right of the gospel ministry; the people's divine right to choose their own pastors; with an abstract of Dr. Owen's arguments in favor of the divine right of the ruling elder: and as there are many serious Christians who have not a capacity to take up and retain a long chain of reasoning, a summary of the whole Treatise is given by way of question and answer as a conclusion.

The Editor is not to be understood as approving of, or vindicating every single sentiment, or mode of expression, used in this Treatise: at the same time, next to the Holy Scriptures, he recommends it as one of the best defences of presbytery which he has seen.

That it may be blessed of God for informing the ignorant, settling the wavering, and establishing the believers of the present Truth, is the earnest desire of,

Christian reader,

Your humble servant in the Gospel,


Paisley, 28th February, 1799.




Thou hast in the ensuing treatise, 1st, a brief delineation of the nature of a divine right, wherein it consists, and how many ways a thing may be accounted of divine right, according to the Scriptures; as also, 2d, a plain and familiar description of that church government which seems to have the clearest divine right for it, and (of all other contended for) to be the most consonant and agreeable to the word of Christ; which description (comprehending in itself the whole frame and system of the government) is in the several branches thereof explained and confirmed by testimonies or arguments from Scripture; more briefly, in particulars which are easily granted; more largely, in particulars which are commonly controverted; yet as perspicuously and concisely in both as the nature of this unusual and comprehensive subject insisted upon would permit. Things are handled rather by way of positive assertion, than of polemical dissertation,